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Human Trafficking: We Secured 143 Convictions In Two Years – NAPTIP

The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking In Persons (NAPTIP) says between 2022 and 2023, it secured no fewer than 143 convictions. These, it…

The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking In Persons (NAPTIP) says between 2022 and 2023, it secured no fewer than 143 convictions. These, it said, included a high profile person who trafficked 12 girls to Belgium and a Lebanese national.

A statement by the Press Officer of the agency on Saturday said the Director-General of NAPTIP, Prof Fatima Waziri–Azi, disclosed these on Thursday when she appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Human Rights for the 2024 budget defence.

The statement noted that the chairman of the committee, Abiola Makinde, commended the agency for its efforts in tackling trafficking in persons, which he said had resulted in the conviction of several traffickers.

The statement quoted Makinde as saying, “Our members are very interested in your agency because you are doing well and this is also a gender-sensitive agency of government. NAPTIP is one of the active agencies in the country.

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“In line with the statutory requirements for the yearly budget appropriation, it is expected that you and your team appear before this committee to tell us what you have done with the 2023 budget and also to defend your 2024 appropriation.”

In her response, the DG pointed out that the agency had secured 641 convictions and opened offices in 32 states.

She added, “NAPTIP is the only agency with enforcement, prosecutorial and protection mandates towards its target beneficiaries; the victims of human trafficking and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).

“As part of the prosecutorial mandates of the agency, last year, we secured 80 convictions and in 2023, the agency has already secured 63 convictions and still counting.

“These convictions include the high-profile trafficker that trafficked 12 girls to Belgium and the conviction of a Lebanese national. Due to the enhanced visibility of the agency and increased trust in NAPTIP as a government institution, reportage has doubled in the past two years than ever in the past 20 years, in addition to the evolving trends and patterns in human trafficking.

“This has caused serious strain on our human and financial resources.”

The D-G stated that “in 2022, the agency received 1,462 human trafficking complaints, 31 per cent increase from the number received in 2021”.

She said the challenges confronting NAPTIP were enormous, worsened by the upsurge in the trafficking of persons across the world. According to her, every state in Nigeria is affected by human trafficking and the scale is alarming.

She said the agency was at war, adding that human traffickers were ruthless and good at hiding.

Waziri-Azi assured the lawmakers that the agency would continue to double its efforts to outsmart the traffickers and ensure the safety of Nigerians from all forms of trafficking and exploitation.

The statement disclosed that the NAPTIP DG had a week ago appeared before the Senate Committee on Human Rights and received the commendation of the senators.

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